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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  March 12, 2013 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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and discuss whether you've been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. you should not start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. tell your doctor if you're prone to infections, have cuts or sores, have had hepatitis b, have been treated for heart failure, or if you have symptoms such as persistent fever, bruising, bleeding, or paleness. since enbrel helped relieve my joint pain, it's the little things that mean the most. ask your rheumatologist if enbrel is right for you. [ doctor ] enbrel, the number one biologic medicine prescribed by rheumatologists. a live look at the vatican right now. 115 cardinals will soon be holed up inside the sistine chapel as they decide who will become the next pope. a two-thirds majority is needed or 77 votes and right now there is no clear front-runner. we're going to head to the
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vatican in just a few minutes for details of the conclave procession. it will happen live later this hour. hi, everybody. great to have you with me today. i'm thomas robertins. and we have news today from washington. congressman paul ryan just minutes ago unveiling the house republican's plan to balance the nation's books. >> we can't just keep spending money we don't have. that's the basic acknowledgement when you're budgeting, just like families and businesses do, that you cannot continue to kick the can down the road. that you cannot continue to spend money that we just don't have. this is not only a responsible, reasonable, balanced plan, it's also an invitation. this is an invitation to the president of the united states, to the senate democrats, to come together to fix these problems. >> so the house budget chair and former vp contender claims his plan will erase all debt within ten years without raising taxes, but it's already been blasted by democrats as fantasy, trickery, and the same old tired tune. >> what's frustrating to me,
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honestly, is that paul ryan is releasing a budget today that assumes the repeal of obama care, that changes medicare into a voucher system. did he get anything out of that lunch that he had with president obama the other day? >> you know, ryan laid out his argument ahead of today's unveiling the an op-ed in the "wall street journal." ryan writes, "the truth is that the nation's debt is a sign of overreach. government is trying to do too much. and when government does too much, it doesn't do anything well." >> it's republican's vision, and they're laying that out, something the democrats have been too cowardly to do in the senate, under harry reid's leadership. >> a fundamental part of that house budget is simply not realistic. >> the release of ryan's budget comes ahead of the expected unveiling of the senate democrat's budget, laid out by patty murray. it begins on the same day that president obama begins a three-day marathon string of face-to-face capitol hill powwows. meetings with both parties in both the house and the senate.
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joining me now is charlie rangel of the house ways and means committee. sir, it's great to have you here. and let's dive in and take a quick look at what we learned this morning, the unveiling of paul ryan's budget. it includes $4.6 trillion in savings. it increases spending by 3.4% annually, aims to balance the budget in ten years. but in doing so, it counts on the repeal of the affordable care act, or obama care, includes changes to medicare, consolidates the tax code into just two different bracket, and is contingent, here's a big part, contingent on the approval of the keystone xl pipeline. is this a bruudget that democra can get behind, especially considering it goes after repealing obama care and wants to promote oil drilling. >> i'm very disappointed in paul. he refuses to recognize that the election is over. this was the key issues that he's talking about in his budget, that the american people have rejected. one of the things that you missed, he has an $800 billion savings. during the campaign, he and his
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candidate were knocking the heck out of obama for cutting medicare. guess what, he takes the $800 billion that's saved as a result of obama care and puts in his bug as a saving, even though he wants repeal obama care. >> is that why he's being ridiculed for this? >> he should not be ridiculed. it's a poor political posture. it has no impact at all on the economist. it's playing with numbers. but at the end of the day, the numbers can not lie. so under his own thinking, you don't need anyone to attack him. his numbers don't make sense. and so, what he is doing is saying, the campaign is not over. we didn't like obama care when it started, and we still have going to repeal it. doesn't he understand, after all of those years in the congress, to repeal a bill that first you have to get both houses to vote to repeal it. then it goes to the white house. and then you need two-thirds to overcome the veto.
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>> these are high hurdles. >> they're not hurdles at all. it's a political posture of saying, in your face. >> well, steny hoyer is saying, the same old trickery, in an op-ed he put out in plaitco. saying this plan, much like ryan's previous budgets, is expected to rely on spurs budget trickery to reach its goals. eugene robinson writing on what he calls ryan's make-believe budget, saying the new plan is even less grounded in reality than the old one. if the gop is trying to rebrand itself, and change some of its messaging, isn't going back to the old tactics that the american people didn't support in a national election, wouldn't that be the wrong track? >> which gop faction are you talking about? you got the rubio, you got the mccain, you got him, standing out there by himself. if the speaker -- the republican speaker of the house of representatives ever had the nerve to tell a handful of people from the tea party, look, let the republicans do what they want, i'm through of doing what
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you want me to do, we will find you an enimty in terms of finding a certain number of democrats that can't afford a compromise, a certain number of republicans who can't afford a compromise, because they will not be re-elected, and we, as we have done in the past, will pass a decent budget. but the republican speaker cannot do this. why? he'd rather be speaker than allow the house of representatives to work his will. a handful of people control the chairmanships by the republicans and the speakership. and that's more important than the economic success of our great nation. >> sir, one thing i want to get you on the record withon, becaue have developing news that a senate panel has just developed background checks for more gun purchases. the fate is still in the full senate, not clear. was this the most palatable form of gun control legislation to move forward, again, by doing something in baby step it is, to try to get to something broader?
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>> i'm glad you said baby steps, because you removed by ability to be critical. to say that you shouldn't be crazy -- you can't be crazy and get a gun is a very -- it should have been done so long ago. yes, i'm happy, i hope it's adopted. we've got so far to go. there's no reasons why we manufacture more guns than any country in the world, why we have more guns per capita than any country in the world. and we have more deaths due to domestic problems than any country in the world. but, yes, that's a good first step. >> another thing i want to talk to you about, we are watching this hour, live, taking place in rome, the conclave about to begin. the cardinals are going to take their secret oath. you are a catholic. do you have any idea or anything that you'd like to share with us, of how'd you like this to go, to see the next pope, the characteristics would like to see? >> yes, i hope that they stick by their guns with same-sex marriage and telling a woman what they should do with their
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body. but add to that a gender, the fact that the poor are waiting to hear from their voices, the sick are waiting to hear from the church. the kids who need education are waiting to hear, and peace should be the predominant role that any religion plays. and so for a new pope, it is time for reform within the catholic church and also for the spiritual community to have their voices heard, because capitalism by itself is not what american values are all about. >> congressman charlie rangel, nice to see you, sir. thanks for your time. >> good to be back. now on to our other top story today, again, to the secretive ritual to choose the next pope. it's underway as we speak in rome. those ceremonies began at 5:00 a.m. eastern, with a mass at st. peter's basilica, where thousands of people waited to get inside and take part. just a short time ago, the cardinals left their residence and headed to the pauline chapel. and in less than a half hour, the cardinals will make the p
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procession from there to the sistine chapel. and once there, they will swear this oath of secrecy, which is expected to take about an hour, and we won't see the cardinals again until they elect a new pope. between 1:45 and 2:15 eastern, the cardinals will meditate and vote. then the ballots will burn, white smoke will indicate if a new pope has been elected. black smoke means that no pope was chosen. this entire process is so secretive that vatican officials installed jamming devices to use everyone from using a cell phone or hidden microphones. and with the race wide open, there's no indication of how long the election of the new pope might take. >> in the past hundred years, no conclave has lasted more than five days. >> if they go more than four day, they're in trouble. >> joining me now from the vatican is nbc's anne thompson, who has the lowdown on the process from a to z for us. she has been in rome since pope benedict stepped aside to become pope emeritus. anne, explain what we're going to be seeing later this hour. >> well, first of all, thomas, let me give you a tour of st.
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peter's square, where i am. this is what everybody is going to be looking at for the next couple of days. see, that's the temporary chimney on top of the sistine chapel. that's where the smoke will come out, telling us if we've got a pope or if they still need to take more ballots. then as we go over here, you'll see the red grapes on what's called the loja of the blessings. that's where we will first see the new pope. and once the smoke comes out and the bells start to ring, people rush down here to st. peter's square, and there's all kinds of energy, because they want to see the new pope. before all that happens, of course, the cardinals must vote. and in about a half hour, they are going to start processing, from the pauline chapel into the sistine chapel. they will chant the litany of saints, as it's been described. that's basically the catholic family album. and then they will sing a song that says, come holy spirit. they will go into the sistine chapel. the doors will be closed. and then they are expected to
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take that first ballot. thomas? >> and anne, what are we hearing? because back here at home, certainly, the media has been talking about cardinal o'malley and cardinal dolan potentially being in the running, but they've also been getting some favorable press overseas. >> they really have. and especially the italians seem to be really fond of cardinal sean o'malley of boston. they like the fact that he is a monk. that he wears robes and sandals. they like his humble presence, and they seem to think that might be a good option for the next pope. let me talk about some other people who are getting a lot of play here. the italian newspapers speculate that the person going into the conclave with the most votes is cardinal scola, who is the archbishop of milan. but they say that he is far short of the 77 votes needed the to become the next pope. other people being talked about, cardinal scherra, who is the archbishop of sao paulo, the largest catholic diocese in the world. mark ouellet, the former
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archbishop of quebec. he is now based here in the vatican. he is the head of the congregation of bishops. and along with cardinal dolan from new york and cardinal o'malley of boston, there's also a third american who's getting some attention and that is donald whorl, who's the archbishop of washington, d.c.. >> and cardinal scola out of milan, he is italian, but not part of the curia. is that why he would be someone, a contender more considered, because he's outside of the curia, but inside italy? >> well, he is. and you know, basically, the college of cardinals has broken into two camps from what we understand. the old guard, if you will, those who want to keep things the way they are, those would be the members of the curia, and the reformers. and most of the american cardinals fall into that reformer group. but, you know, at this point, thomas, it's anybody's guess,
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who's going to emerge out on that balcony. because i can't recall a situation that has ever been this fluid. every single day, somebody is up, somebody is down. new names get mentioned and it really is, at this point, impossible to predict. >> and weather wise, we see you with the big umbrella, what's the weather forecast, anne? it looks a little miserable. >> reporter: oh, my gosh, it's been miserable. we've seen thunder, lightning, hail today biblical rains. it is chilly in rome and it's really a thoroughly miserable day. and it's supposed to be miserable until saturday. so we're all concerned about, when they do burn the ballots, are we going to be able to, first of all, see the smoke and then distinguish its color. you'll remember back in 2005, it was really hard to tell whether it was black or white smoke coming out of that temporary chimney. vatican officials think they've got a better handle on it this time. there are actually two stoves in the sistine chapel, one where they burn the ballots, the other where they throw in the chemicals to determine the color of smoke.
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and we hope they get it right. >> we might have a better time than looking at the sky than we looked at twitter, because weapon didn't have twitter the last time around. maybe we'll know about smoke from there. anne thompson reporting from the vatican. anne, appreciate it. straight ahead, sugary showdown. a new york judge shoots down mayor michael bloomberg's large soda ban a day before it was supposed to go into effect. but the fight, it is not over yet. and that leads us to our big question for you today. after you've been hearing about this and bloomberg cracking down on big sodas wi, what do you th, was the mayor right to ban the big sodas? tweet me your though thoughts @thomasaroberts and find me on facebook.
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breaking news to report. a helicopter crash in southern afghanistan has killed five american service members. the black hawk went down overnight outside kandahar city
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and initial reports show no enemy activity in the area at the time and the cause of this crash is currently under investigation. now, the crash brings the total number of u.s. troops killed within a 24-hour period to seven, the deadliest day so far this year. two u.s. special ops forces were gunned down hours earlier in an insider attack in eastern afghanistan. in new york city, any minute from now, we are going to hear from the mayor, michael bloomberg, on the day that his ban on supersized soft drinks was supposed to go into effect. but it's not going to go in, because a judge struck down that ban, which would limit sodas purchased at restaurants. the judge ruled yesterday, saying that movie theaters and food carts, calling this arbitrary and capricious. bloomberg plans to appeal it. with me now is michael grimbow, a reporter with "the new york times." michael, it's good to have you here. this has certainly been a hot topic in and around new york city. and people certainly have an opinion about whether or not these soft drink-sized sodas, the larger ones should be banned and controlled down to 16
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ounces. the mayor went through a similar fight with the calorie charts that we see on restaurant menus now. but how likely is it that he's going to win this one against the fight with the soda sizes? >> the city is certainly going to pei thappeal this up to the higher court industry. the mayor only has about nine months left in his term, and it's unclear whether his successors will support this program with the zeal that he has shown. >> certainly, this has been a bone of contention. we have seen it happen on our air. with "morning joe" hosts, joe scarborough, mika brzezinski, taking on this very topic. i want to remind everybody how their discussion played out. >> these foods actually are toxic, the way they are made, if i may finish, i contend that you're making an incorrect statement by saying these things aren't poison. >> they're not poison. >> they are. when you have such high concentrations of sugar and high fructose corn syrup -- >> hold on one second. keep the camera right here.
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she's talking, this is important. i'm sorry. go ahead. >> they create an addictive -- oh, joe. >> oh, man. this was not set up. >> and i bet you can't stop. >> i eat this every morning. >> mike, as i was saying, americans certainly have passion on both sides of the issue, and free choice is a big deal for all of us. is there a middle ground to be found here? as you're saying, that the soda manufacturers, the lobbying groups for soda makers are going to come out in full force against this. can the mayor work with them to find common ground? >> well, the mayor has said that part of the idea for this was just to inform consumers. if you have to buy two drinks to get 32 ounces, it makes you think about it. but, of course, many believe that this is more about coercion by the government. the bloombergian nanny state that he's established a reputation for. you know, i think he's going to keep fighting this, even after he leaves office, the mayor has quite a bit of money that he can spend fighting for his personal pet causes.
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it so will be interesting to see whether he takes a different tack about it, perhaps with a public relations campaign, after he's out of city hall. >> i want to show everybody the dailies too. here in new york, the headlines are what grabs the most attention. we've got the new york daily out with its cover that says, judge tells mike to suck it. and the other cover, "pour it on!" this was highly unpopular. but as time goes on, do you think history might look back on mayor bloomberg in a different and compassionate light when it comes to his efforts at trying to inform the consumer? >> well, the mayor's team is always quick to remind us that when he introduced his ban on smoking in bars and restaurants in new york city, it was wildly unpopular. people were furious about it. i'm sure there's a bunch of great "new york post" headlines in the archives. but people came around on that and it's been adopted by cities all around the world. many are now thrilled that they can walk into a restaurant in new york city and don't have to choke their way to the bar in
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order to order a drink. and many bartenders are happy about it for the health benefits. so he'll probably be end up seeing a pioneer. >> they've never said anything about free refills. you can go back as many times as you want. was mayor bloomberg right to ban big sodas in the city? tweet your though thoughts @thomasaroberts and find me on facebook. we're down to the big event at the vatican. moments away from the cardinals as they head into the sistine chapel. right now, there is no clear front-runner, but a lot of buzz about a north american runoff. the u.s. versus canada. we're going to be back with much more from our panel, live from rome, after this. twins. i didn't see them coming. i have obligations. cute obligations, but obligations. i need to rethink the core of my portfolio.
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to pass along. just into us here at msnbc, defense secretary chuck hagel has ordered a review of a new military medal more pilots of unmanned drones. the distinguished warfare medal for drone operators was created by former defense secretary, leon panetta, and lawmakers and veterans groups objected, because it was placed above medals awarded to people who served on the front lines. and more developing news coming out of new york city. a new york cop accused of plotting to kidnap, cook, and eat women was convicted of conspiracy. officer gilberto vali was arrested last year after a tip by his now estranged wife. he was also found guilty of accessing a national crime database. and moving on, we show you a look now at some of the other stories topping the news now. according to court documents, the boy of jodi arias is accused of killing was once convicted of theft and battery charges. however, travis alexander's brother told "the huffington post" that he was the one who actually committed the crime and
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travis just took the fall for him. james holmes is back in a colorado courtroom right now. he's expected to answer to charges of killing 12 people in a crowded movie theater last summer. a judge ruled yesterday that holmes could be given a truth serum to help determine whether he is insane or not. the judge suv involved in that deadly crash in ohio was a stolen vehicle. the owner of the vehicle met with police yesterday, filing a report. police say that none of the teens were related to the owner or had permission to operate that car. a riot erupted in brooklyn last night following a candlelight vigil for a 16-year-old that was killed by police over the weekend. police claim that he had a gun, but his family is denying that claim. and kelly osbourne is back home after spending five days in the hospital. doctors still don't know what caused her to suffer from a seizure, but believe it was a one-time episode. she was given a clean bill of health. all right. as we've been talking about through the hour, just moments away now from where we are expected to witness the cardinals walk from the pauline chapel to the sistine chapel. and that's where they soon will
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i took something for my sinuses, but i still have this cough. [ male announcer ] a lot of sinus products don't treat cough. they don't? [ male announcer ] nope, but alka seltzer plus severe sinus does it treats your worst sinus symptoms, plus that annoying cough. [ breathes deeply ] ♪ oh, what a relief it is! [ angry gibberish ] and here is a live look at the vatican right now, where a sacred ceremony is about to get underway. 115 cardinals who will choose the next pope about to begin their walk from the pauline chapel to the sistine chapel. once there, they will take an oath of secrecy. the doors will be locked and they will officially begin their secret election. now, the first vote could come in a matter of hours. the cardinals can decide not to vote on the first day of the conclave, but vatican officials say that is pretty unlikely. now, tailors have already laid out three sets of clothes for
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the new pope to wear, as soon as he is elected, in sizes small, medium and large. american cardinal, timothy dolan and his daily radio message yesterday said that he was anxious to get started after days of meetings. >> it was remarkably enriching and uplifting, but i'm kind of happy they're over, because we came here to elect a pope. >> joining me live from the afghanistan are msnbc's chris jansi jansing, elizabeth lev, and father mark heydo, international director for the vatican museums. chris, i want to start with you. there appears to be this divide among the cardinalsov s over th direction of the church, as we look at the way the american press is talking about this. this "l.a. times" says the electors have appeared to have split in two different groups and are backing angelo scola and cardinal who is work at the vatican are backing the brazilcan cardinal, odilo scherer. what are you hearing from people
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on the ground there? >> everything you could possibly imagine. i think it's fair to say, at this point, the situation is fluid. having said that, there is a little bit of a parallel with american politics and the way there are sort of coalitions that form. and remember, most of these cardinals who you're seeing right now in the pauline chapel have been there for a couple of weeks. a lot of them didn't know each other that well. 67 of the 115 have never been in a conclave before, because they were appointed by pope benedict. and so, they were sort of getting the lay of the land, getting to know each other. it's a little bit like all the folks who go out in new hampshire in the primaries and are trying to get to know the candidates. well, the cardinals, candidates themselves, are getting to know each other. i think that if there is a favorite, and i think that word is a little bit overused in this instance, it probably is cardinal scola. the sense here may be that cardinal scherer is losing a little support. we're hearing a lot of talk about the possibility of an american pope. but when they get in there, i think because there are so many
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people who are new, because these circumstances are so historic, i don't think anybody really can tell you what's going to happen inside the walls of the sistine chapel, thomas. >> certainly, the names that keep popping up, from the american side. cardinal timothy dolan, cardinal scola, marc ouellet, and as chris mentioned, odilo scherer of brazils. what does it mean that we are in historic times for the fact that we have a pope emeritus, and that we have not been in a period of mourning leading up to this election and the fact, as chris pointed out, that these certain cardinals, more than half of which were appointed by pope benedict, have had the opportunity to get to know each other over the last week. >> i think it makes this a really exciting time. it's very happy, because we don't have that sort of heaviness of saying good-bye to one pope, in the sense we've
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been to a funeral. we're in this joyous moment of expectation. and the possibilities have become so wide. an american pope, who would have said an american pope in 2005. and now we have three north americans -- >> who would have said it two weeks ago? >> absolutely! good point. i would have -- i was mumbling it a few years back, to be perfectly honest. i thought we were getting to be about that time. but it's a very, very thrilling and exciting moment, in which anything can happen. >> father mark, let me ask you, as we talk about the possibilities of an american pope, whoever is elected could be pope, certainly faces big challenges ahead. as we look at a new "washington post"/abc news poll, it shows that 78% of catholics disapproved of the way the church handled the child sex abuse cases. 60% of catholics believe the church is out of touch with american catholics today. in your estimation, what are the qualities that the next pope needs to bring into the job at hand, to deal with the leadership needed to move the church forward?
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>> i think just those statistics themselves give us one quality. he's going to need to be a communicator. someone who can tell those 60, 70, 80% of people, no, that's -- we do believe in you, we do love you. we are concerned. we are doing things. so the sincerity in a communicator, i think, is definitely going to be top on the priority list. obviously, there's a whole organizational issue that the cardinals have been speaking about in these last days. that's going to be another big issue. there's obviously the financial issues, which have been in the news. so, it says, you look through the lists and you ask yourselves, who's got the qualities to handle all of these things? and in the end, it is quite a load that's going to be passed on to the next pope, although, when you look back in history, you ask yourself, when hasn't it been a big load for anybody who steps into the papacy. >> again, we're looking right now live at the sacred ceremony, which is the procession of the 115 cardinals, who are on their walk from the pauline chapel, into the sistine chapel. as we've been talking about
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this, there have been a lot of catholics and theologians talking about what can come next. and there's one priest who's been writing about the whole process, saying that now may be the best time ever to shake things up. take a listen to this. >> the last two papacies, we elected the smartest man in the room. brilliant theologians. maybe it's time to elect someone who listens to all the other smart people in the room, and the church itself, and brings these creative people together, to solve the problems facing the church. >> elizabeth, the only thing we know for sure to come out of this conclave is that it will be a man, someone under 80, and that's catholic. what are the other surprises that you think may happen? are we focusing and talking about all the wrong names, potentially? >> i think there is still a lot more room for surprises here. i realize that everybody's narrowed down these polls and we keep narrowing down the playing fields, but every now and then, i look, and i think, why can't
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we add another cardinal to the mix? why can't -- how do we know exactly what they're thinking? and when we talk about the smartest man in the room, sometimes i think, what about the kindest man in the room? what about the most loving man in the room? maybe we're focusing too much on the brains here, we might miss the possibility that the cardinal cease the man who emits such a love and joy, that he will eventually win over the votes of the other electors. >> chris, as we talk about this and as elizabeth points out, this is certainly a hopeful time for catholics around the world, the $1.2 billion catholics that want to see the church succeed, moving into the future. but as we know, there is the leaks investigation, that was conducted by pope benedict before leaving, and that material now waiting for the new pope that is elected. media in italy, how have they been covered what the vatileaks investigation represents to the new pope? >> well, look, the italian press, the paparazzi is an italian word we tend to associate a lot of the tabloids
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with the british, but, in fact, it all started here. and so, if there is any hint of scandal, you will read it in the italian newspapers. having said that, wii'll tell y what surprised me. one is that they're talking about others outside of italy, who could possibly be the pope, and i was at dinner last night. actually, father heydo was with me. and an italian was there, and he said, he didn't want anything to do with an italian pope. he thought it meant the old guard. and in fact, he wanted an american. and when you look at some of these things. and i think that when you look at those polls, they're interesting to look at, and they're instructive, and that's probably part of the reason why people are looking, for example, at a cardinal o'malley. not only is he somebody who speaks six languages, but he is someone who has gone into three different diocese and worked to help make amends for the sex abuse crisis. they look at cardinal dolan as somebody who a year ago, gave a speech in front of all the
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cardinals, and i think surprised a lot of people with how funny, how smart, how wise he was. and he won over a lot of favors. so, i think the other thing that you have to remember is that while they're deeply in prayer, they are also human beings, going into this conclave. and they are looking, like you and me, for who they feel can inspire them and lead the church forward. >> father mark, when we talk about, and chris brings up the italian influence, there are more italian electors than any other country. again, pope benedict has appointed more than half of the voting cardinals. do you think that that will influence, certainly, with knowing that pope benedict is still alive, and will be pope emeritus, do you think that that will influence how the cardinals vote, thinking of how they would like to see pope emeritus benedict, at least his legacy, remembered? >> well, i think the block, as they say, of the italians, will
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definitely influence and definitely come together, and that's always been the case. it's always the possibility that they'll want to influence, but one thing that's really interesting and curious and something that i hadn't seen before in the other conclave is there's actually italians speaking about going outside italy, looking for a holy father outside italy. where you would think after a polish pope and a german pope, they would want to come back to the mother country, but they're open to the possibility, see the advantages. and so that's an interesting -- it's an interesting insight that actually surprised me. i've lived here in italy for 12 years and i didn't expect that. but we're seeing that. >> chris, the other important thing, though, to point out, is the matter of time, we've had the trivia of conclaves to discuss, as we've been ramping up to this. but no one is expecting this to be something quick, where we emerge with a new pope today. however, there is the chance to get this done before holy week. >> well, i think that they would
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all love to see that. i don't think that there are any analysts that i've talked to for sure or vatican insiders who think that it will go that long. having said that, it is really interesting. the last few things we've heard from cardinals just today. there was a cardinal from chile who suggested that he thinks this can go on for a while. there was one from south africa, who said he would think it would go four to five days. the average for the last nine, thomas, is just over three days. and as you'll remember, pope benedict was elected in less than 24 hours. but he went into it as a true favorite. we don't have that this time. and so, yeah, i think it could be anything. the only thing that i would say, with any degree of certainty, is that it's not going to happen today. we will get smoke today, we think, but i would be absolutely stunned. i've said, i think i'll fall off this hill if there's white smoke at some point today, thomas. >> chris, i'm going to ask you to stand by along with our other vatican panelists. joining us is senator jim riche,
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a republican from idaho, also a republican and interested in seeing how this goes. sir, as you've been watching this and watching the coverage, as you are aware, catholics make up the second largest religious demographic in congress. what do you think, and what are your expectations of the new pope? >> well, a lot of us catholics are kind of amused at the media coverage of this. you know, you cover this as if it's a sporting event or, worse yet, a political convention. look, this has been going on for 2,000 years and we talk about what country they'll come from. i really don't think those people are focused on that at all. they have an entirely different focus than what i think the media does and what laypeople do, particularly laypeople outside the church. they're looking for an individual who's a successor to st. peter, the first pope, and they're looking for someone who brings the kind of attributes
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that jesus inspired in us, who are christians, who are catholic. >> sir, so you're not interested in watching the media coverage or learning about who potentially could be the next leader of the catholic church, $1.2 billion catholics, around the world? >> well, first of all, you can look at the list. it's probably one of the 115 cardinals who are in the room. but it doesn't have to be. indeed, they have elected popes, who were not one of the cardinals in the room at the time of the election. probably not going to happen, but, it's always interesting. i mean, you can read the workup that everybody does on each of the individuals and who they are and what they've done. most of them have become a cardinal, because they've possessed many of the attributes that a pope would possess. but i think they look at it very differently than what we look at it. >> would it be of interest to you to see an american become the next pope, at all? >> well, i'm more interested in seeing a person who really has the appropriate attributes to
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lead this church. where that person comes from is a matter of political boundaries, most of which come into play long before or long after they've been electing popes in the catholic church. >> senator jim riche of idaho, sir, thanks for joining our coverage. we appreciate it. >> glad to do it. >> want to take you back now to vatican city and our panel who is standing by for us at the vatican. we have msnbc's chris jansing, george weigel, msnbc vatican analyst, as well as mark heydo, the international director for vatican museums. as we watch this, we are now seeing the ramp-up to the official swearing in ceremony. explain what we will see in the next couple of minutes. >> the cardinals will take an oath to preserve the confidentiality of the process, to vote for him who they believe
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in conscience is the man best suited to lead the church. and then they will hear a homily, a sermon, from an elderly cardinal, from the czech republic, i believe. who is a great scholar of st. a augu augustine, who will speak to them about their responsibilities. and then the doors will be shut and they will be on their own. and that's when, as chris mentioned a moment ago, the first vote will take place. >> and i think it's worth pointing out, because these pictures are so spectacular, you're looking at the last judgment, and cardinals have talked about this. cardinals who were in the last conclave have discussed being in that room, and anyone who's ever gone to the sistine chapel, or frankly just looking at this on television, fufrirst of all, it one of the most magnificent places that ewe will ever go into. it's been totally cleaned.
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yesterday i was talking to one of the workmen. i was talking to the official at the vatican museums, who was in charge of making is sure that everything looked just so. but when you see that altar in the front, that's where they'll actually go to cast their ballots. and cardinals have talked about walking up to that magnificent michelangelo painting of "the last judgment" and you can't help but feel the weight, the import, as if they wouldn't have felt it already. you're in this room, surrounded by all of this stunning religious symbolism, and you can't not take it seriously. so we do talk about the politics of it. we do talk about the coalitions that are forming. but in the end, as you watch them standing there, in that place, you realize something different. >> and i think that's -- the sistine is now in its glory. this is what it was for. when michelangelo painted it, it wasn't for the 5 million visitors that go through a year, visiting the museums. it was for the cardinals, for
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the papal court, for a select few that would be in there, doing some very serious and important things for not only the catholic church, but for the world at large. and so i think that's also good to recall, that right now, the sistine chapel in all its beauty is doing what it was meant to do. help these men, in conscience, as george said to choose, not just the person they like the most, not just the person who they think is the most interesting, but the man who has all the qualities necessary, who has all the spiritual qualities to be able to lead the church towards its future, which is, as we know, is challenging and has problems to face. >> chris, it's probably worth noting that in the sistine chapel, you have all of biblical history in one place. the ceiling goes from -- begins with the creation of the world and of adam and the last judgment, as you indicated, is the focal point. so these are men embedded in the
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story of biblical religion. >> and george, i just wanted to say that we're about to dip back into our deep memories of our latin lessons, if some of us got those as kids, because they take the oath in latin, correct? >> that's right, thomas. that's exactly right. we're looking for you for simultaneous translation. >> well, luckily, i have it written out in front of me. so i could pretend to tell you that i do remember latin, but i don't. but i do have it in front of me, written out. but it is interesting that they will be taking this oath in latin, and one by one. >> i think they recite a part of it together, and then each one goes up to the book of the gospels, to make his private affirmation that he agrees with what all have just affirmed. the latin is interesting. i mean, this is a multi-lingual
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church. it's 1.2 billion people, but at a number of global catholic events like this, latin is making something of a comeback as a kind of lengua franka, no pun intended, of catholic life. and that makes my old latin teacher very happy. >> george, you grew up in baltimore, right, george? >> that's right, thomas. >> did you go to st. mary's? >> st. mary's coven's parish, i know very well. which one are you referring to th? >> that one. that's where my mom went. she'll probably be able to follow along in latin. >> very good. >> well, we're looking now again at these beautiful shots that are coming to us out of vatican city right now as we wait for the official start, the swearing in, the secret oath that these 115 cardinals will take before they start to vote on the next
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pope. chris, i know you said. but based on history and based on what we know happens, this afternoon, east coast time, which would be sometime between 2:00 and 3:00, we expect that they will, they will do a first ballot and i think george has described in the past, just sort of kind of getting the lay of the land and some of it is just a pat on the back where you give a vote to a friend of yours. it's a little time for them to kind of settle down and settle in. and then probably the more seriousness, the forming of, of allegiances will start more clearly tomorrow. but i don't know anyone as i said earlier, who thinks that there will be white smoke today,
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this is just a chance for them to get under way and get a feel for what it's like to be in there. >> father mark, how important do you feel it is for the conclave to elect the new pope in a timely manner, someone ha could be seated prior to holy week? >> well i think also the fact that they are locked in the sistine chapel will help things to move along. i think everyone's first concern is picking the right person. and time is somewhat relative. as we've even seen at the begin the of the conclave, when they all arrived here, perhaps everyone was thinking they would perhaps start soon. the pressure was on, the media was interested. everyone was wanting things to move along quickly. but they took their time and kind of came to some middle ground between those who wanted it to go quicker and those who wanted it to go slow. so i think they'll be aware of the time. but i don't think it will play too much of a role in pressuring them to get it done with and move on. >> chris, as you covered the
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election of pope benedict in 2005, explain the difference in energy that you are seeing this time around? >> you know, i think that there was such a beloved pope and a pope would serve for decade in pope john paul ii. i had never in all my years of covering world events seen anything like the two million to three million people who descended on this city and what surprised me the most eight years ago was that they weren't just catholics, they were christians of every type, they were jews, they were hindus, they were muslims, they were people online who waited ten, 15, 20 hours to go past the body of pope john paul ii, as it was lying in the basilica behind me. they did it because they all told me pretty much the same thing, that they wanted to feel that there was some sort of moral leadership in the world. and it was stunning to me. stunning that somebody would leave the comfort of their living room, where can you see it perfectly well on television
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and who would travel in some cases thousands of miles, in some cases put it on a credit card because they wanted to be here. there was a level of sadness that i think permeated this. and you also had a more familiar group and george could speak to this in a more educated manner. but there was no doubt when they went into that conclave that joseph ratzinger was a front-runner. and we don't have that this time, george, do we? >> no, that's right, chris, no papal funeral. no mourning before a papal funeral. an unprecedented historical situation, and not only no front-runner, but no front row at daytona here. this is a much more wide-open process. as we watch cardinal giovanni batista ray say a prayer that concludes the singing of the ancient hymn "come holy spirit."
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>> and george, you pointed out, this is cardinal ray, who is right now as we see in front of the microphone there. the important part, george, that comes down to when they go to cast their first ballots, explain why the cardinals will try to disguise their handwriting? >> well, there is a bit of confidentiality involved in this. they're asked to write legibly, but in a way that is not clearly their own. this is a rather complicated instruction. they'll individually walk up to that urn in which the ballots are cast. and say, "i call to witness christ the lord, who will be my judge. that he for whom i am voting is the one i think should be
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chosen." that will happen 115 times. every time a ballot is taken. so it's a rather formal process. there's not a lot of chatter going on during it. it's rather a liturgical process. this is not just walking into a voting booth and punching in. there's something prayerful, worshipful about this. and that's exactly how it out to be. >> and the votes are announced, but you don't know whose they are you have this situation where then they have to check and make sure it's 115 if they have 114 counted or 116 counted, then it's not a vote any more. there is, it's a fairly slow and laborious, as well as historic process. >> the each one is read privately by one of the scrutinias, and they pass it over. the third man reads it allowed.
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and each cardinal will be taking note of the numbers and looking for the 77 to be reached. >> father mark and george and chris, i want you to stand by as we listen to the oath being given. [ speaking foreign language ] >> part of what they're saying, they are in unison, out loud say we promise and swear to observe with the greatest fidelity. with all persons, clerical or lay, secretly anything and regarding what occurs in the place of the election. george, as i mentioned before, pope benedict, appointed more than half of the voting cardinals there today. should that give us an indication of their back grounds and that they themselves might
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also be of the same mindset? conservative theologians, like pope benedict was? >> pope benedict's cardinals, thomas, are in fact a rather diverse group. one of his most recent cardinal appointees, cardinal luis tondeley of the philippines, is a man who belongs to the school of the interpretation of the second vatican council, that joseph ratzinger didn't think much of. so it's not at all a mo monochromatic group of men here. >> having said that, i think for the american audience, thomas, it's worth pointing out that when people ask me, who the more liberal cardinals of the bunch, this is not a liberal group by nature. and i also think as we watch this, it's worth noting, while we're thinking about how this is all going to play out. that it's also historic in the sense that pope


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